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Nature Play Workshop
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When: Thursday, April 25, 2019
7:30 AM
Where: Timber Park
30878 SW Evergreen Way
Estacada, Oregon  97203
United States
Contact: Amanda Parsons

Online registration is closed.
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The Nature Play Workshop will cover several different subjects in correlation with natural play structures.  The workshop has six presentations: Design, Maintenance, Issues, Safety, a demonstration of equipment, and a site tour of a nature play site.  This workshop truly covers the ins and outs of Nature Play Sites!

  1. Design phase of a nature play site.  This session will be presented by a landscape architect who will discuss the techniques and construction of a natural play site.
  2. Maintenance of playgrounds.  Covering what PGE has done to keep their playgrounds maintained on site.
  3. Issues with nature play sites.  The obstacles that can arise will be presented with plenty of time for questions and answers.
  4. Safety of nature play sites.  What considerations at the time of the design are maintained for the life of the playground.
  5. Live demonstration of a log peeler.
  6. Walking tour of Timber Park's Play Structure along with dialog revolving around the recent lessons learned during the installation process.


  1. Learn what it takes to design and install a nature play site
  2. How to maintain a nature play site
  3. Understand the issues a nature play site poses and the safety of these sites

This information is beneficial for agencies that are thinking about installing a nature play site or have already installed one and are looking for more information on how to maintain the site.


Park employees who are interested in expanding their knowledge about maintaining nature play sites or are considering installing one.


7:30 AM

Check In and Registration with Breakfast

7:50 AM

Welcome / Orientation

8:00 AM

Designing Nature Play- techniques aligned with design and construction

Michelle Mathis

9:00 AM

Maintaining Playgrounds- a look at what PGE has done to maintain their nature playgrounds

Tim (TR) Ryan

10:00 AM

Issues with Nature Play Sites- arising obstacles that Nature Play sites face.

Jason Wagoner

11:30 AM


12:30 PM

Demonstration of the log peeler- a live display of the "log wizard" and summary of its use in nature play sites

Sean-Paul Cunningham

1:30 PM

Safety of Nature Play Sites- how we ensure that the safety considerations at the time of design are maintained for the life of the playground.

Zach Killgore & Nathan Hobbs

2:00 PM

Tour of the Timber Nature Play Site- learning from the recent installation

Zach Killgore

3:00 PM

Q&A - Wrap up and Evaluations


Michelle Mathis

Landscape architect with over fifteen years of experience managing and designing spaces that connect young people to nature and their communities.  She is the owner of Learning Landscape Design and works on projects from conceptual development to construction; including park, school, early childhood, and family destination sites.  She has a Master's Degree in Education with a focus on whole systems design for education, which she couples with her strong design sense to create spaces that are engaging and intrinsically support learning.  Her most impressive skill may be her ability to truly listen and respond to client needs.

Professional Licenses and Affiliations

  • Licensed Landscape Architect
  • Certified Playground Safety Inspector - National Parks and Recreation Association
  • Master's in Education - Focus on Sustainable Design for Education
  • Founder and Member of Oregon Natural Play Initiative 
  • Steering Committee Member - National Wildlife Federation's National Guidelines for Play and Learning
  • Completed the Permaculture Design Certificate

Tim (TR) Ryan

TR is skillfully versed in all trades, providing a diverse tool chest to draw from when needed on many different recreation improvements, which include, but not limited to trailes, campground improvements, river access sites, day-use areas, and nature play structures.

  • Senior Parks Maintenance Technician - PGE Parks - 2010, first seasonally and now full time
  • Park Ranger - Oregon State Parks - Summers 2009 to 2012
  • Park Ranger Assistant - Oregon State Parks - Cove Palisades - Summers 2007 to 2009
  • Trail Creations / Yakima Construction - Medford Oregon - 1999 to 2004
  • Park Ranger Assistant - Oregon State Parks - Smith Rock - Summer 1999

Jason Wagoner

Jason Wagoner is a park ranger for the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department at Silver Falls State Park.  He has worked for OPRD for 16 years starting at Champoeg State Park then moved to the Central Coast to Devil's Lake State Park.  In 2006, he transferred to Silver Falls State Park and focused on trail maintenance and design, working on the Trail of Ten Falls, a National Recreation trail.  The Natural Play Area project was initially pitched to the park in 2010 and installation started in 2011.  Jason's focus was initially the quarter mile connector trail linking the play pods but he quickly assumed the project coordinator role.  As a father of three and a native Oregonian, he enjoys the outdoors and lifestyle of the Pacific Northwest.  His kids were some of the first visitors to the Silver Falls NPA and it has spawned a love of tree and rock climbing that goes with them on every trek into the wilderness.

State Parks - Silver Falls

Sean-Paul Cunningham

PGE Parks - Celebrating his 1-year anniversary this coming April, and comes from a diverse background of education and experiences.  Sean-Paul earned his bachelor's degree in geology and geography, has worked for several municipalities parks departments and spent time as a logger.  Currently, his role at PGE is as a Parks Maintenance Technician, where he is working to maintain the risk tree management plan, update and maintain the parks as built plans, tracking of asset management, and maintenance task scheduling in addition to keeping up with the daily maintenance tasks.

Zach Killgore

PGE Parks - Also celebrating his 1-year anniversary this coming April and comes from a diverse background of education and experiences.  Zach worked for Americorp's NCCC where he was first introduced to nature play sites.  After his service was finished with Americorp NCCC, he went on to expand his education.  During college and before PGE, Zach worked in landscaping and construction.  Currently, Zach's role at PGE Parks is as a Parks Maintenance Technician.


Member Fee: $60

Non-Member Fee: $70


Included with registration:

  • Breakfast and lunch
  • Afternoon refreshments
  • Binder with speaker's presentations along with supporting information
  • A great day at Timber Park along the Clackamas River

Please bring the following:

  • Pen/pencil and notebook for note taking
  • Safety glasses
  • Hearing protection
  • Dress for the weather - this is an outdoor event


All ORPA workshops are eligible for CEUs to be applied to CPRP.  Learn more about self-reporting.

This workshop also provides CEUs for the following certifications: none.


Please take a moment to review the ORPA Refund Policy.






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Oregon Recreation & Park Association | PO Box #202, Lake Oswego OR 97034 | 503.534.5673
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